It’s not until recently the voices for change in the world of movies and television has made significant impact. We are now seeing more actors of colour gradually stepping into roles they were meant to play. Ultimately, as John Campea has stressed many times, it shouldn’t matter what colour or nationality an actor is in order to play a fictional character. When Hollywood goes on casting, they should simply cast actors that best fit the roles. And no better example of this comes from Riz Ahmed’s win at this year’s Emmy Awards.
Read More: Riz Ahmed becomes first South Asian to win an Emmy
After becoming the first actor of Asian descent (British-Pakistani) to win an award for best actor, the working class Londoner has burst through the shattered doors that once filtered quality actors who possessed the ability to deliver award-winning performances. And it has been a collective effort of the current crop of actors who seek more diversity in the most significant entertainment industry in the world.
We’ve already seen the likes of Ed Skrein stepping down from a role, after finding out the character was half-Asian from the Hellboy comic book. He lost an opportunity in his career but took an honourable step aside for allowing more diversity in Hollywood, which he was eventually praised for.
By no means has the problem been solved, but decisions and accolades like these shine a bright light on an issue the industry has had for quite some time. Slowly but surely, more casting of the kind will make plenty of headlines, striking the perfect balance. Take, for example, the latest casting of the live-action version of Disney’s Aladdin. Both the title character, Jasmine and Jafar have been chosen appropriately, with the addition of Hollywood powerhouse Will Smith.
Ahmed was one of four people of colour that night to have won an Emmy, alongside Donald Glover, Sterling K Brown, and for the best-written episode co-written by Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe.
Riz Ahmed summed it best in his speech, after being handed the award for his performance in The Night Of, “It’s always strange reaping the rewards of a story that’s based on real world suffering. But if this show has shown a light on some of the prejudice in our society, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that’s something."